Clive Russell is a fan of Fulham FC

Clive Russell & Football

 

Clive Russell is a Fulham supporter who was converted from Manchester United when his Granddad took him to see Fulham V Preston North End in 1971. Up until that time, Clive was a fan of Denis Law, Georgie Best and Bobby Charlton. Clive also loved the Leeds United team of the 70s and hated Chelsea, Chopper Harris, Peter Osgood, etc.

 

In the 1970s, Clive lived slightly closer to Stamford Bridge than Craven Cottage but his Granddad who was a West Ham supporter refused to take him there. Clive eventually went to watch Chelsea when they were on the decline in the mid 70s and the half full ground created a dreadful atmosphere. He remembers watching Chelsea play Ipswich and as there were no black players on the pitch, the Chelsea fans booed every time a poor black ball boy touched the ball.

 

Clive loved the magic of players and teams who for fragile moments shone above everyone else. Eddie Gray, Ian Storey Moore, Denis Law, Alan Hinton, Gary Jones, John Ashton in the first half of the 1968 European Cup Final, Gerry Francis, George Best, Don Masson, Bobby Moore, Dave Thomas, Stan Bowles, Steve Daley, Gunter Netzer, Willie Johnston stand out as players who thrilled in an era of poor pitches, terrace violence, mediocrity and thuggish defenders.

Clive had a brief dalliance with QPR in the mid 70s when under Dave Sexton and captained by Gerry Francis, QPR played some scintillating football and finished 2nd in the league. In the 80s when the supremely talented Simon Stainrod wowed the crowd and upset manager Alan Mullery in equal measures, Clive again went to watch QPR at Loftus Road (with plastic pitch) and at Highbury for their European games.

 

Clive went to the 1975 Cup Final when Fulham lost 2-0 to West Ham United with Taylor scoring both goals and Peter Mellor not having his finest hour in goal for Fulham.

 

Clive went to lots of Fulham home and away matches in the 90s as the club teetered on the brink of extinction with areas of terraces taped off because they were unsafe. Rob Haworth who played for Fulham at that time was perhaps the worst professional footballer he ever saw live.

 

Today, Fulham are established in the Premier League with an all-seater stadium and a team of international players from across the world.

 

Of all the players who shook the world, it was Luc Nilis who Clive liked the most. Luc played the game to entertain and excite and as the video below left shows, he did that time and again!!!

 

Clive Russell Playing Days

 

Clive Russell attended a small primary school, Heathfield House, on Munster Road, Fulham. Heathfield would play and practice football on Friday afternoons in Hurlingham Park but did not play against other schools apart from the annual Fulham 5-a-side tournament held at Fulham swimming Baths.

 

Clive attended Emanuel School where they played rugby and cricket and so he spent every break and before school playing football in the Quad (playground) with airflow footballs.

 

Whilst still at school, Clive played 1 season for Farm Park Rovers who were in the Sunday Sportsmans League and, in all honesty, pretty useless although they had some reasonable players in training but not so good in matches or as a team. One of the team, Budgie, was really skilful but carried a lot of weight and could barely run. He was once spotted outside McDonalds with 2 breakfast muffins on a Sunday morning before a game!

 

The following season, Clive helped form Windmill Rovers who were predominantly made up of school pals. Unsurprisingly, in Division 8 of the Wandsworth & Balham district league, they were kicked off the park.

 

In his 20s, Clive would put on the green shirt with white sleeves and play football on a Sunday morning for Maeldune Comet in the Octopus League. Maeldune played their home games in Worcester Park and originally the league was made up of teams who found the discipline, aggression and number of matches of FA affiliated leagues too much. The standard was not great but included teams from BBC Radio and BBC TV. Ian Dark, the Sky and ESPN commentator played for BBC Radio and kept up a running commentary of the game.

 

Before retiring from the 11-a-side game, Clive played for 2 seasons for Old Grammarians 4th and 5th teams based in Nightingale Road, Wandsworth. Having played most of his career as a right sided forward, midfielder and occasional right back (ironically his best post position), Clive played as a central defender for Old Grammarians.

 

 

Clive Russell's Favourite Players: Simon Stainrod, Ian Storey-Moore and Joe JordanClive Russell admired the skills od Eddie Gray, Gerry Francis and Dennis Law

 

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